Touch of Faith,
Painting by Yongsung Kim,
Painted in 2019
Oil on canvas
© 2023, Yongsung Kim Art
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light
Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:
‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’
From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’
Reflection on the painting
A section of today’s gospel reading might sound very familiar, as it is part of the first reading of the Christmas night Mass from the prophet Isaiah: ‘The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light; on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned’.
That reading fitted the setting of Christmas night, telling us that with the birth of Jesus a magnificent light came into our world. In the gospel reading today, Matthew quotes this text from Isaiah not referring to the birth of Jesus, but rather to the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry. As Jesus started preaching and healing, his light was now fully shining for the world to see.
The light of God’s kingdom continues to shine through him upon our own lives today. He illuminates all we do, if we let him to! As per Saint John Henry Newman, we ask him to lead us every step if the way: ‘Lead kindly light’. The closer we are drawn to his light, the more we can pass on that light and be light bearers to others.
Our painting by Korean artist Yongsung Kim conveys a burst of light emanating from Christ and his invitation to follow in his footsteps. We see a hand coming in from the right not just wanting to touch his cloak, but trying to keep up with Jesus’ fast-paced mission of bring light to everyone.
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